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Analyzing the NL Cy Young Race: Beyond Your Grandma's Stats

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A SABR-look at the 2012 National League Cy Young race. Not surprisingly, everything is (still) coming up Dickey.

Mike Stobe - Getty Images

Here we have a side-by-side comparison, a tale of the tape, if you will, of five of the top N.L. Cy Young candidates.

Unlike many of the comparisons you've seen before, however, this one is viewed through the lens of some of the more unorthodox, yet no less relevant — and in some cases more relevant — pitching statistics, as compared to the more standard measuring sticks that we're accustomed to seeing.

Disclaimer - Craig Kimbrel is great and all, but:

  1. It's hard to measure him the same way as a bunch of starters and
  2. Most of this group — consisting of Johnny Cueto, R.A. Dickey, Gio Gonzalez, Clayton Kershaw and Kyle Lohse — posted at least a 4.5 rWAR, but Kimbrel only posted a 3.2.

To make things a little easier to digest, I sorted related statistics into groups, based on the color of their headers. Additionally, by holding your cursor over each header you will see a brief definition of each statistic.

Player xFIP BABIP TeamWL% PersonalWL% Wchp QS%
IP/GS
GmScAvg BestGmSc OppAvg X/H% K/BB Str% 3pK 4pW PIT/pa SB SBa/SBo
Cueto
3.65
.296
.599
.667
3
70%
6.6
57.5
79
.252
28%
3.47
65%
25
8
3.87
1
3.5%
Dickey 3.27
.275
.457
.667
0
82%
7.1
62.1
96
.226
33%
4.26
69%
45
6
3.61
4
2.3%
Gonzalez
3.38
.267
.605
.750
4
69%
6.2
59.5
82
.206 32%
2.72
62%
26
16
3.89
12
4.6%
Kershaw
3.25
.262
.531
.636
0
76%
6.9
63.0
83
.210
34%
3.63
64%
41
6
3.84
8
7.1%
Lohse
3.96
.262
.543
.636
3
73%
6.4
56.7
75
.239
33%
3.76
67%
31
9
3.62
6
3.4%

Upon closer inspection I'd still say that Dickey deserves the award, with the incumbent Kershaw close behind. Where does Kimbrel slot in? Tough to say, though he really shouldn't factor into the discussion at the very top anyway so frankly who cares.

*Data/definitions courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs.com.